Gear Reviews

Hands on Ryders Eyewear : Photochromatic & Anti-Fog MTB Sunglasses

Ryders Eyewear

Ryders Eyewear is Changing How We See on Bikes

Based out of Vancouver, Ryders eyewear evolved out of the dark, damp, forests of BC’s North Shore and as such, know first-hand the challenges of riding in humid, low-light conditions. It didn’t take them long to realize, that most sunglasses suck in such environments, especially when you’re trying to mach through the woods on a bicycle. Out of this void in the market sprung Ryders Eyewear.

Ryders first popped up on our radar last year at Interbike (the brand has a reputation for always having one of the most creative booths at expos) and ever since, we’ve been intrigued by their high tech, performance oriented optics. We were able to swindle them into sending us a pair of the Thorns as well as the women’s specific Kats to see for ourselves whether they indeed make good on their claims or if it’s just clever marketing.

Ryders Eyewear Review

As of now, most of our rides with the glasses have been open desert trails. We’re looking forward to getting them on some Wasatch singletrack once the snow melts.

Immediate Impressions

Both the Thorn and the Kat’s are equipped with photochromatic technology, which as far as we can tell is a cool way of saying they have transition lenses (you know, the kind your grandma wear that adjust from light to dark). Additionally, the Thorn’s sport Ryder’s anti-fog back and hydrophobic front; meaning they won’t fog up on you, and they help displace water keeping your line-of-sight moisture and water free.

Two things we hate about most sunglasses; 1. Lenses that simply darken everything without any vibrancy, and 2. Lenses that are too dark or too light and leave you blinded in or out of the shade. We’re happy to report that neither symptoms were experienced with either pair. The photochromatic lenses do an excellent job of adjusting to the ambient light while maintaining excellent color and balance. We can’t yet comment on how fast the lenses adjust coming out of shady bits of trail, as we’ve only had the opportunity to ride with them on open exposed desert trails, but look forward to thoroughly testing them once the snow melts in the aspen and pine forests of the Wasatch.

Ryders Eyewear Review

Additionally, the hydrophobic front coating behaves exactly as advertised, shedding water quickly and efficiently. In fact, it worked so well that we’d love to see a pair with the coating applied to the back of the lenses. Again, we’ve only had the glasses in sub-humid conditions, so can’t extensively comment on how well the anti-fog coating works, but as of yet, they’ve lived up to the claim of being tough on fog.

Ryders Eyewear Review

Kassie loves her women specific Kat frames. With a great fit, performance, and great looks, they don’t leave much left to be desired in a pair of sunglasses.

Ryders Eyewear Fit & Fashion

While Kassie absolutely loved the fit of the Kat’s, I found the Thorn’s had some minor pressure points on long rides. Nothing major that would stop me from wearing them, but I’d love to see a version with softer plastic or padding around the temple area. Additionally, my tastes lean more towards classic fashion sensibilities, whereas the Thorn’s verge more on the modern sporty side bordering on Bono-esque. Obviously this is personal preference, and with all that’s right with these glasses I certainly won’t let that stop me from wearing them on the trail. However, I would love to see some more casual shapes and styles that sport the same lens technologies.

We’re looking forward to getting out with the glasses in more diverse zones and conditions once the snow melts, but from our short time with them, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either pair. Look for a more thorough review in the coming weeks, but for now head to Ryders Eyewear to learn ore and pick up a pair or two of your own.

About the author


Alex is a designer by trade & mid-grade adventurer by night who’s quite partial to knobby tired bikes, clean design, & dirty hands. When not updating this silly website, he's likely off exploring the nearby hills with a few of his favorite partners in crime.

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